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Disabled tenant ‘angry’ at living conditions

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A terminally ill tenant living in a council property in Storrington is ‘disgusted’ by the bad conditions that she believes have ‘exacerbated’ her disease.

Diane Johnstone, 60, was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and given just three years to live, but she claims that her three bedroom council property run by housing association Saxon Weald is ‘falling apart’ and causing her ‘unnecessary stress’.

After receiving permission to swap properties with a friend under the same housing association, Mrs Johnstone and her daughter Liane - who is also her full time carer - moved in to Windmill Copse only to endure ongoing problems with the facilities.

The family, who also have four children to look after, say they have come to the end of their tether due to falling kitchen cabinets, broken doors, putrid pipes and poor disabled access.

Saxon Weald told the County Times they have reviewed the situation and assured Mrs Johnstone that repair problems ‘relating to the fabric of the building’ will be resolved.

“I’m slowly deteriorating,” explained Mrs Johnstone. “I’ve outlived my life expectancy now, but all the stress is making me feel worse.”

COPD is a progressive disease that makes it difficult to breathe, which means Mrs Johnstone must keep an oxygen tank near by at all times and use a mobility scooter when travelling.

“When the kitchen cabinet fell, all the glasses smashed to the floor.

“It nearly crushed my granddaughter.”

The 60 year-old contacted Saxon Weald for assistance and a repair man was sent over to assess the problem.

“He said he shouldn’t put it back because we did a mutual swap with our property, but he eventually fixed it to the wall using 43 screws.”

Unable to leave the property without assistance, Mrs Johnstone has requested a ramp be installed to give her easy access to the garden, but she claims that Saxon Weald refused without an explanation.

“There are steps to the garden, so I can’t get outside where my mobility scooter has to be kept.”

Daughter Liane Johnstone, 34, said living in the property has becomes a ‘nightmare’.

She said: “There’s been a lot of ongoing problems with this place.

“When we first moved in the boiler kept packing in and we went through three months of hell.

“I try not to tell my mum when things go wrong because I know she’ll only worry and stress about it.

“Something needs to be done.”

In response, Saxon Weald’s PR and marketing manager, Rachel Richards, said: “Mrs Johnstone can rest assured that we will resolve any repair problems relating to the fabric of the building, which includes sorting the current plumbing issues.

“Unfortunately, with regards to fitting a ramp, funding would need to come through a Disabled Facilities Grant, administered by the county council.

“We will be in touch with Mrs Johnstone to explain the process.”

 

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